By Capt. Rich Foote (593rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)September 20, 2016
CAMP YONGIN, Republic of Korea -- Members of the 593rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., participated in the Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2016 simulation exercise from Aug. 21 to Sep. 3.
UFG is a defensive command and control exercise, designed to test and enhance the combat readiness of Republic of Korea, U.S. and several international military units in a combined, joint environment.
The 593rd ESC Early Entry Command Post (EECP) staff members worked in support of multiple joint partners during the computer-based exercise. This marks the first time the 593rd has taken part in the large-scale event, serving as a training ground for upcoming validation exercises for the unit.
As the primary sustainment force for I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 593rd ESC plays a vital role in the total support of operations across the Pacific theater. Exercises like UFG allow the Command to test their abilities in all facets of unit tactics, techniques and procedures.
"Sustainment plays a key role in all operations," said Lt. Col. Karen Dill, 593rd ESC G-6. "The refinement of the I Corps plan to include 593d ESC allows our unit to validate and refine our communications integration, support plans, and establish relationships to support American warfighters in the Korean theater."
The exercise, led by Combined Forces Command in Seoul, tests the strategic, operational and tactical aspects of large-scale military operations in Korea. 593rd ESC has a vested interest at all three levels.
Preparations for the event took place in July at JBLM, with one week of Academics regarding the cultural and military landscapes of Korea, and operational planning, then another week of Ramp-up activities and a Command Post Exercise.
"The CPX provided the 593d ESC the opportunity to form coordination relationships with I Corps," said Lt. Col. Justin Stewart, 593rd ESC Command Surgeon, "and UFG cemented those relationships, giving us the tools to succeed should we ever get called to support our partners in Korea," Stewart added.
The unit received praise from I Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. Steven R. Lanza, as a result of their performance and dedication to constant improvement throughout the exercise.
"You are my ESC, and I would go into a fight with you, any day."
Ultimately, Ulchi Freedom Guardian served as a training and measuring tool for growth over upcoming exercises for 593rd ESC. The commander, Brig. Gen. John "Jack" Haley, expressed great pride in the teamwork and efforts displayed by his staff throughout.
"A first for the rest assured team, UFG has been an excellent exercise to demonstrate our expeditionary sustainment mission command capabilities and to form a new team following a large summer turnover of personnel," said Haley.
To carry on a legacy of success in support operations, this will be just the first of many UFG exercises for the 593rd ESC.